The former CEO of Sears Canada believes it would be a “train wreck in the making” if Hudson’s Bay Co. (HBC.TO) acquired troubled U.S. department store chain Neiman Marcus Group.

When two struggling businesses combine the resulting entity is typically not anything close to resembling a success, Mark Cohen told BNN in an exclusive interview. Both HBC and Neiman Marcus Group are struggling right now, he said.

Cohen described Neiman Marcus’ business as “terrible.”  The company is facing a “potential financial crisis” in the next year or two, and is desperate to find a safe harbor, he said.

Neiman Marcus scrapped plans for an initial public offering in January after reporting five consecutive quarters of declining sales. 

Cohen’s criticism of HBC was equally sharp.

“Acquisitions and financial recapitalization is all they really know how to do, and it masks poor retailing strategy and mediocre results,” he said. “[HBC Executive Chairman Richard Baker] has a ridiculous and unwarranted need to create some kind of luxury empire.”

While neither HBC nor Neiman Marcus Group have confirmed they are in talks, and Cohen has not heard “definitively” that negotiations are taking place, he’s convinced that HBC is in an acquisition mode. Cohen said reliable sources have told him that business at the Saks Fifth Avenue location in the Bay store on Queen Street in Toronto “is terrible.”